Do you have to spend thousands on SEO to make it work?

 Photo by  Fabian Blank  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

How to get the most out of SEO when you’re a small business

Interview

(3-minute read)

This interview is by no means exhaustive when it comes to the world of SEO, but in it we cover:

  • What are Long Tail keywords and Short Tail keywords?
  • What is Keyword Stuffing and the 2% rule?
  • Where are the best places to use your keywords?

SIMON: 
Hi David. Common SEO advice seems to boil down to: find a Long Tail keyword, include it in a 1000-2000-word blog post or article, include links within it to further content and post it up. Is that it? 

DAVID: 
Put simply, SEO is an answer to someone’s query that they have typed into a search engine. ‘E.g. where can I find vegan restaurants in London?’ 

Google and other search engines are trying to act as human as possible. Small companies are trying to do things with SEO that work for them. Basically they need to be as targeted as possible by getting the right content to the right people. Long Tail keywords are a way to do this. 

Another way is to research what people are specifically looking for online and respond to that. And that is where all the noise comes from when people/experts say that it’s easy to do, but in fact, it’s not that easy. It depends how much time you are willing to spend answering people’s specific enquiries.

SIMON: 
What’s a query, and what is the difference between a Long Tail keyword and a Short Tail Keyword?

DAVID: 
Essentially a query is just a question that that someone types into a search engine, e.g. where can I find vegan restaurants in London?’ And that query will contain Long or Short Tail keywords.

A Short Tail keyword would be, for example, ‘Restaurants London’. It would have a high search volume (huge numbers of people looking for it), but it’s not very specific, so if you are a restaurant in London, it’s very unlikely you would come up on the early pages of Google as there are so many restaurants.

A Long Tail Keyword would be ‘Vegan restaurant South East London’. More specific and therefore targeted. The search volume would be lower, but the conversion rate would be higher from the web traffic that you would get from it.

So, you need to start with a Long Tail keyword research, work out what is going to be relevant to people, and then create your content around it. 

You could have Long Tail keywords like: ‘how to create a good work environment’ which is beneficial for your employees. When I worked in recruitment for jobs in marketing, we created content not just about ‘marketing jobs’, but also ‘how to be a great marketer’, the latter of which is a Long Tail keyword. 

We would look at the relevancy of a Long Tail keyword, and its search volume (i.e. the numbers of people searching for something, high or low) , then we would create content based on that, if it made sense to do so.

SIMON: 
What is ‘Keyword Stuffing’?

DAVID:
‘Keyword Stuffing’ is when people overuse their keywords on a particular webpage and ‘stuff’ their webcopy with them, to a point where the text doesn’t read naturally. Some people recommend it, but this practice doesn’t work. Google bots can spot when a site has been ‘Keyword stuffed’ and it has a negative effect on your website’s search engine rankings. You should aim for no more than 2% of your copy being made up of keywords.

SIMON: 
How do you work out the percentage?

DAVID:
To work out the keyword density percentage of any of your webpages, you can either use any Keyword Density Checker online, or else divide the total number of times you have used the keyword on your webpage with the total number of words of your page. The figure that you get is the keyword density of your content.

SIMON: 
Where are the best places to use your Long Tail keywords?

DAVID: 
Normally I would say once in your header or headline and in the URL and once or twice in the body copy.

SIMON: 
Someone I know with a great startup business asked me if SEO has to be costly?

DAVID: 
It depends if you have the time, resources and money. If she understands basics of SEO, she can look at her keywords, optimise the website and start doing some link building across the site, but it takes time to do it yourself. 

It’s a good idea to know how to use Google’s Webmasters tools, and Moz, (a keyword explorer tool) learn from them, and then bring it in-house if you can. It takes a lot of effort as it’s about organic traffic, but within 90 days you are going to see results. It’s measurable.

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